That’s Just Golden, Part 2

, , , | Right | August 14, 2020

I work at an office supply store as a tech associate. I am working closing and am the only tech person in the entire store. A woman comes in with a phone that she says is water damaged. We have just gotten in one of those new tech-dry machines, and she wants to know if we can fix it because she has important documents on there.

Me: “All right, ma’am, I can see what we can do for you. If there are documents you need on here for an upcoming court case, I’d hate for you to lose them. I’ll do everything I can!”

Customer: “Oh, thank you! You’re so nice! I really appreciate you taking the time to help me!”

I take the phone from her, look it over, and see what the damage is. I need to fill out a repair sheet so she can’t come back later and claim that something was working before and we broke it. We make the usual small talk, but as the conversation continues, things start to get a little strange.

Customer: “Yeah, I used to live in a motel until the black mold from the AC kept me from getting up and working, so now I live out of my car with my cat.”

Me: “Oh, no, that sounds awful. I’m sorry that happened to you!”

Customer: “Yeah, now, when I need to use the bathroom I have a setup in my car for when stores won’t let me use theirs. Earlier, I got chased out of a store when I was trying to use their bathroom, so I had to use my in-car setup, and in my rush, I didn’t realize my phone was there.”

I suddenly realize exactly what she meant by “water damage,” after I’ve been handling the phone with my bare hands for a full ten or fifteen minutes.

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I don’t think there’s anything that I can do, and since you plugged your phone in to charge it after it got wet, there’s really not much hope of saving anything on there.”

This was actually true, and I needed a way to stop the interaction so I could go and clean myself up in the bathroom. She thanked me and made to leave, while I raced toward the bathroom and used my personal radio to send out an SOS to my manager about what had just happened in hopes that he could offer me some help.

Everyone was shocked by what had just happened, but I ended up having to deal with her for another twenty minutes after I came back because no one else would take her as a customer, and I couldn’t come up with an excuse to leave.

That was the day that we instituted a new policy at the tech counter: always ask how the phone was damaged, and always wear gloves when handling a customer’s phone.

That’s Just Golden

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